Friday, October 19, 2012

Time Away

For you few loyal readers out there, if you've been wondering where the Wild Child is, I'm taking some time off to rethink some things (and to enjoy the real world instead of this confounded internet).

I started Wild Child as a journey into the past to solve the mysteries of who my family is, who I am, and why my worldview is what it is - in the hopes that my life might have something to say to yours, too.  What I found surprised me. I spent the summer working on my manuscript: went home, rolled down hills, stared at the sky, listened to my mother, gave away most of what I owned, moved to Columbus, did a bunch of comic book events, turned 30, considered everything I've ever known from every possible direction. Just as I finished the manuscript for the entire book, some life events occurred that solved the mysteries for me, causing me to reconsider my conclusions, and consequently, the approach to the book. Life has a way of changing the game just when you think you have things figured out.

So, sorry to leave you with a cliffhanger, but I'll be back when I can articulate to you what I've discovered on my journeys.

  To be continued...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wild Child in Poem Form

Presented with the challenge of "reading" a book with very few words, I wrote this poem to describe the plot of Wild Child #1:

In the patchworked topography
of slow, lonely hills
lives a mute mountain folk,
as ancient of days
as the Appalachian range.
a wild daughter
jumps the fence
and runs
from home-baked safety
to chase the wordly scents of
crickwater & moss,
rolling naked downslope,
mowing clover and hay.
Muddied, the
prodigal daughter returns,
feet baptized in a washtub
cuz that's what 
the good book says,
but more woman
than girl,
rebels against
hand-stitched innocence,
and casts herself
from the garden,
from the quilt,
from the washtub,
from the apple tree,
to the wilderness 
and the mercy of the wolves.

A century of progress
paves those hills 
into geometry,
gouges coal from the earth
and spreads it across the surface
as pickup exhaust,
tape-recorded angst,
and televised electricity
that deceives the night into 
thinking it is day.
Another wild daughter
falls prey and
rejects the good book 
to follow the howls of wolves.

And the wolves' howls
darken the black of the sky.

Thank you to the Pittsburgh Zine Fair, Cyberpunk Apocalypse, The Monollah Foundry, and The Heinz Endowments for promoting me. Thank you, also, to everyone who listened to and played in the dirt with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Subplot: A Love Story

Photo by Aaron Walker, 2007

Friends and family of autobiographical writers know they're never safe from being written into a story (so be careful what you say to us!).

My husband, Mark, made his debut into the world of comics in White Wolf Honey Moon, a short story I printed in The Kindlin' Quarterly Issue #3. 

Happy fifth anniversary to my traveling companion through space-time and the most inspiring character in the story of my life.

{The field next to my parents' house was my playground as a kid, the site of many important personal events, and continues to serve as the reference for the color scheme in most of my work.}

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Lifelong Pursuit

Most comics people got to know me as the editor of The Kindlin' Quarterly, a quirky underground anthology on its 8th issue. What you don't know is that I've been making similar publications since I was in grade school.

The Summersville Gazette
Excerpt from Star Trek:
The Next Generation News
In addition to a few short-lived newsletter attempts, in 1994 I made The Summersville Gazette, mostly about my dog Butter and distributed to immediate family members. 

Next came Star Trek: The Next Generation News, also in 1994, which featured summaries of recent episodes of the show and swooning digressions about Commander Will Riker.

And then there was...

The Stoopid Krap News flopped into the world as the creative outlet for a lonely kid with a weird sense of humor and unlimited access to a copy machine.  On Sunday afternoons, my dad paid me to clean the office of the small engineering firm he owned, and after the toilets were scrubbed, I cut, pasted, and copied (the old-fashioned way) until my mom came to pick me up wearing her nightgown.

I cranked out sixteen Wingding-laden issues from 1995 to 1997, with no regularity in length or frequency. The Stoopid Krap News was distributed to a total of six people (my brother and five friends)  and came with a strict warning that NO parent should ever see it, lest I be shut down.  

Heavily influenced by MAD Magazine, the content varied from fake news articles about the school bully's rumored incestuous background, drawings of the math teacher's haircut, comics on college-ruled notebook paper, and my rantings about the world at large. Most of the features only made sense at the time, but some of it is relevant outside of the junior high classroom and still tickles my funny bone.




Monday, August 13, 2012


Sweet sassy molassy! In the bottom of the closet of my old room, I found my Circus and Hit Parader magazines from 1994-1997. I was certain they had been trashed!

To celebrate, I'm giving yall a sneak peak of what's on my little lightbox for Wild Child #2. I'm making another cup of coffee. It's going to be a long night.

Yes, I hand-drew all that text. Yes, it took over 10 hours straight.
I loved every second of it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Early Influences

At home in West Virginia working on Wild Child #2, I found my childhood stash of comics.

In my hometown, which had a population of approximately 2500 in the 1990s, the "comic shop" was Kroger. My options there were: 
Comics and friends.
  • Archie - I bought a few issues but couldn't really relate to the tribulations of popular kids who had friends.
  • Batman! - My first crush (still going).
  • MAD Magazine - Against all parental-control norms, I was allowed to read MAD on a regular basis, which I can only attribute to divine intervention. 

On rare occasions, my family would drive to the closest mall 45 minutes away. Over time, I accumulated: 
  • MAD About the Sixties - a big book of jokes I wasn't old enough to understand.
  • A single issue of Tales From the Crypt - #9, copyright 1994 - because I watched the show on TV every Saturday night.
  • The Crow by James O'Barr - after seeing the movie during my teenage goth phase.
  • A prized collection of Ren & Stimpy Comics #7-18 - because my classmates talked about the show, but we didn't have cable.

New title page for the 2nd edition of
Wild Child #1. 
That's a comprehensive list. After a long hiatus, the next comic I read was Ghost World in 2002. My collection now is modest and selective, consisting mostly of books by artists I've met.

Several people have asked me recently who my influences are. 
I keep three books on the shelf next to my drawing desk:
  • Garage Band by Gipi
  • I Never Liked You by Chester Brown
  • The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor 

But I don't open them often. Limited exposure has taught/forced me to create with minimal influence. And I like it that way.